At any rate, I was caught off guard. I was caught off guard, but I also saw the sense in what my uncle proposed. Perhaps I'd been oblivious to the world around me. If that were the case, then indifference toward this cousin was by and large the cause. From my childhood, I'd frequented my uncle's house in town. I'd sometimes spent the night there. This cousin and I had grown very close. As I'm sure you're aware, romantic feelings do not arise among siblings. It may be that I'm extending this principle to my own ends, but I believe that the same applied to this cousin and me. Having spent so much time together, and having become so familiar with each other, there was no hope for the fresh sensations of romance. Just as the first whiff of incense or the first taste of saké most excites the senses, there seems to exist, in the flow of time, a critical juncture for the stirring of romance. Once having passed it unawares, familiarity only grows with each interaction, and by and by, receptivity to romance is lost. Try as I might, I could not imagine this cousin as my wife.
My uncle was willing, if I insisted, to wait on my graduation. At the same time, he encouraged me to "strike while the iron is hot" and marry without delay. Neither option appealed to me, as I took no interest in the intended bride. I turned him down. My uncle scowled at me. My cousin cried. She was not upset that we weren't to be wed. Being rejected as a bride had simply damaged her female pride. I knew full well that she felt no more attraction for me than I for her. I departed again for Tōkyō.